The Sound Of Two Palms Clapping

Preparing for the day that the company becomes two, Palm Monday announced its new board of directors for its PalmSource subsidiary.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker said chairman and CEO Eric Benhamou will serve as chairman of the board of PalmSource. Benhamou is joined on the board by PalmSource president and CEO David Nagel.

Joining Benhamou and Nagel are three other members who have been key to Palm’s OS: Satjiv S. Chahil, who has served as chief marketing officer of Palm, Inc. since its inception as a public company; former 3Com and Informix Corp. president, CEO and chairman Robert J. Finocchio, Jr.; and Computer Access Technology Corp. CEO and president Jean-Louis Gassee, who once ruled Palm acquisition target Be Inc.

“The formalization of PalmSource’s board of directors is another milestone in the establishment of PalmSource as an independent company and the leader in the handheld software industry,” said Benhamou. “We are delighted to be able to benefit from the business experience and depth of such executives as Satjiv, Bob and Jean-Louis, each a software industry veteran.”

The moves are designed to helped better define Palm’s quest to license its software without the hassles of having its hardware getting in the way. Earlier this month, the company began shipping the fifth version of its operating system to PDA hardware vendors.

The board appointments also precede the naming of Todd Bradley as Palm’s hardware group CEO, which is expected this week. For those of you keeping score, that means there will be three CEOs at Palm: Bradley in charge of the hardware side, Nagel leading the software division and Benhamou to oversee the whole shebang.

As of yet, PalmSouce still operates under Benhamou’s realm. Palm executives have said in the past they plan to spin off PalmSource, possibly through an initial public offering, as early as 2003.

Analysts say Palm was in need of some type of overhaul; the company recently warned its latest financial results would fall short of expectations. Palm is set to announce its earnings for its fiscal fourth-quarter ending May 30 on Tuesday.

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